Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Triatel trips over its own success

Believe it or not, I am writing this offline. My Triatel connection out at the summer house in Carnikava has suddenly shifted from satisfactory state-of-the art (300 to 600 kbps) to 1980s nostalgia, when I used to access The Source or Compuserve at 300 baud.
The reason for this is that lots of people got the same idea as I – why not grab a Triatel wireless modem and stay online at the summer place for around LVL 20 a month? So now the base station is overloaded and I get faster connections on GPRS (wish I had an EDGE phone now ☹ or maybe even 3G, but I’m waiting for HDSPA). Triatel promises that it will fix things in around a week, by July 21. This is actually kinda good news for Triatel, since it is good proof of their concept.
The reason I have this connection is that I am testing it for my paper (and sorta this blog, I guess). So as far as contacting customer service, I had to explain that this was a borrowed test unit and I was not your Joe-Blow (or average Janis-the-user) in Latvia, which somewhat tainted my customer relations experiment, calling the Triatel service number. The head of services, also a reader of this blog, got back to me and explained the problem. I assume that the average customer is also treated well. So we shall have to wait for the return of the happy days of near-wireline DSL performance.
Another curious thing I learned was that IZZI, a reseller of Triatel’s EV DO internet services, has pre-empted an idea I was going to put in my Latvian-language review – that of selling a “Summer Internet” package for a reasonable flat rate and a deposit to make sure you don’t let the dog or the crows get the wireless modem. IZZI doesn’t advertise it, preferring to sign on customers for two-year contracts, but if you ask them pretty please, please, please, they will apparently give you a gadget for the summer. Good for them.
However, the whole experience is a reminder that if you want the always-on lifestyle (or rather, the on-whenever and wherever I want it lifestyle), keep some kind of backup, such as GPRS or EDGE. At least you will be able to check your e-mail if there is some kind of megaf**kup of your main system, such as there was with DSL, and as there now is with the overburdening of the Triatel node here in Carnikava.
I am now trying to post this using a deathly slow 16 kbps GPRS connection…EVERYTHING IS FUCKED. If this doesn’t work, I will crawl to the Lattelecom landline and dial up ☹ ☹


Guigo said...

about the outages - the LMT during summer is experiencing the same with mobile phone calls, for example in my "lauki" there's a problem to get the call through, becouse the place is overcrowded and has only one gsm station..

Bleveland said...

Sad, but as earlier mentioned this is the limitation of the used technique (CDMA2000). The lack of frequencies on the 450 Mhz band will cause some challenges for the Triatel engineers before the will be able to give you your 600 kbps back... surprisingly that it went so abrupt though. In theory your speed should go down a bit for every user logged on to the base station (unless the maximum number of users simply is exceeded), but I guess if there are a few nerds doing some heavy downloads from ftp or usenetservers it will fuck up the network pretty much. Good luck and let us know what happens :-)

Janis Kirpitis said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Janis said...

Reminds me unsuccessful marketing of Tele2 whose number of customers in the end of 2001 were increasing greatly and much faster than their network capacity. As I remember from news articles network was fucked up all the time that and later year. Seems that Triatel is facing the same problem. It’s like promoting milk which you can't find in the shop actually – somehow typical to Latvia!

Artyom said...

I'm not the brightest candle in church, but i see 100 possible scenarios for Triatel EV-DO service from more to less probable:
1) suffer losses and wait for the next wonder-technology panacea to the last man standing;
2) invest all available resources into rapid network growth and bandwidth capacity upgrades;
3) adjust advertising and price politycs to balance bandwidth demand and network growth ratio;
4) invent the wheel - gizmo for per client/basestation data stream shaping to reduce packet loss on high oversubscription network areas.
Moral: What once was a lovely flower becomes a cow pie before it turns to flower again.